California Conservation Corps’ Backcountry Trails crew working in Kings Canyon National Park.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced significant progress towards fulfilling her vision of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) on Jan. 8, which aims to put young people and veterans to work on America's public lands.
Jewell announced that American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., an American clothing retailer aimed at young adults, will contribute $1 million to the 21CSC.
This funding commitment couldn't come at a better time given the increasing needs of America's prized wildlands and the decreasing ability to meet those needs.
Due to the tight federal budget, Secretary Jewell vowed last October to raise $20 million in private funds to support the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps 's goal of increasing the number of conservation corps job opportunities from the current 20,000 per year to 100,000 per year by 2018.
"Conservation corps provide thousands of jobs and training opportunities for young people, complete high quality conservation project work, and develop a new generation of healthy, work-ready young people who are invested in the stewardship of America’s public lands and waters," said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. "The support for 21CSC offered by American Eagle Outfitters is an inspiring act of corporate citizenship. We encourage other businesses to show a similar vision and commitment to stewardship of these lands."
The Wilderness Society's Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) program is a 21CSC program that provides opportunities for young people to work in the forests of North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
Listen to a story about 21CSC from NPR below: